Today marks one year since the Rana Plaza factory complex in Bangladesh collapsed. 1133 people died. Over 2500 were injured. They were making clothes. Clothes that we buy and wear. When does it stop? How many deaths does it take for us to stand up to manufacturers and say enough? When will we stop to think about the people who made the clothes we buy?
Fashion Revolution says today. Today we wear our clothes inside out and ask the manufacturers for more transparency.
So here I am.
I would have liked to wear only things I made but it seems my girls have been the recipients of most of my work and I couldn’t pull a full handmade outfit out of my wardrobe. So I’m wearing my current favorite top. Check out those french seams! Even then, it isn’t completely guilt free. It’s rayon. Not tencel/lyocell. Rayon. It might be the kind that isn’t so great for the environment. And I have no idea what kind of lives the textile workers have. So I put the question to Amy Butler. Who made my fabric?
As for the rest of my outfit… Gap jeans. Because I wear them almost everyday. And they make me feel guilty. I’m not perfect but I have to be honest. I’m wearing Gap jeans. When I chose this outfit for today, I decided to research a little. The Gap website could almost lull me into a false sense of security. It sounds so good when you read it. But that’s PR for you. That website is hardly going to be objective now, is it? So what does Free2Work say? Here’s the scorecard. Overall, B. Not too bad. But let’s look at the breakdown. A- for policies isn’t surprising given their website. B+ for transparency and B for monitoring, not too horribly bad. So where do they fall down? Worker rights. D. Shameful. I paid 70$ for those jeans. I know there’s transport, marketing, etc. But seriously. There’s enough profit there to pay the workers a living wage.
I’ll be trying to sew more of my clothes. I’ve already cut my clothes shopping way down. And my girls’ too. Next up: make whatever needs to be replaced and mend the rest.
But not everyone sews. So today and everyday, let’s remember the people who try to make a living making our clothes. Let’s think of them each time we get dressed and each time we think of buying something new. And let’s support those companies that sell fair trade clothing (I’ll be using that handy list with the grades).